Colorado regulators on Tuesday approved Xcel Energy’s $9.1 million plan to test battery storage at two sites, Denver Business Journal reports.
One of the projects is in the Stapleton neighborhood in Denver, the other will be at the new Panasonic complex near Denver International Airport. They could be launched as soon as 2016 or 2017.
The projects, part of the company’s Innovation Clean Technology (ICT) demonstration project program, will be used to test the use of batteries to back up to solar power and to support the operation of microgrids.
Xcel Energy, like many other utility companies, is looking for ways to both increase the reliability and resiliency of its grid while increasing the amount of renewable resources in its generation mix.
Xcel has 320 MW of solar power on its system and has committed to add 170 MW of new solar in Colorado.
As part of that commitment in Colorado, Xcel is testing technologies, such as battery storage systems. At the Panasonic test site, Xcel will install a utility-scale solar power system and one large battery at a location near Denver airport.
The Panasonic project will have the capability to be operated as a microgrid, which can provide backup power in emergencies, as well as connected to the regional grid.
Panasonic is relocating its U.S. headquarters to Denver from Newark, N.J.
At the second project, the Stapleton project, Xcel will install six batteries at customer’s homes that already have rooftop solar power systems installed.
Under an agreement reached with several parties, including the staff of the Public Utility Commission and the state Office of Consumer Counsel, among others, Xcel will provide milestone reports to review the costs for the projects and will make the data from the projects available to the PUC and to the public.
“Our goal is to use these demonstration projects as a foundation for how to efficiently manage renewable energy on our Colorado system, and to continue to provide our customers with insight into the energy choices they want and value,” David Eves, president of Public Service Co. of Colorado, Xcel’s Colorado subsidiary, said in a press report when the project was originally announced.
Correction: A previous version of this article said that regulators approved Xcel Energy’s $91-million plan to test battery storage at two sites. That was incorrect. Xcel Energy's plan is $9.1 million.